Here are the eight germiest places to avoid if you want to stay healthy!


With our area wrestling with a flu breakout, here are some tips on places and things to avoid in order to not come in contact with nasty viruses and bacteria.

The Grocery Store

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Things to avoid: Shopping cart handles and seat buckets.

Shopping cart handles are a breeding ground for infectious viruses and gut-wrenching bacteria.

“Customers may sneeze, wipe their noses, then touch the cart handles,” says Lola Stamm, M.S., Ph.D., a microbiologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

They’re also contaminated by children’s dirty hands. Use disinfecting wipes on handlebars and seats - many stores now offer these at the entrance.

Children's Playgrounds

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Be it the swings, jungle gym and other equipment, playgrounds are germ minefields. Kids touch everything they see and often put them in their mouths. Wash hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer after returning from playground, using the bathroom and changing diapers.

Public Restrooms

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Most women worry about public toilets. Well, you can sit a little easier now: The porcelain throne is not the biggest restroom offender. It’s the sink. Bacteria swarm on the sink tap or faucet handles, because we touch them right after using the toilet.

Avoid touching moist surfaces and wash hands thoroughly after touching sink faucets and soap dispensers. And use a paper towel to turn the water off.
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In a study of 113 work surfaces in offices in five of the nation’s big cities, researchers found more than 25,000 bacteria hitching a ride on telephones. Desks and computer keyboards followed close behind.

Once a day, wipe down your desk, phone and keyboard with anti-bacterial wipes or cleaners.
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Table surfaces and high chairs are the germiest places here. When busboys wipe down a table or chairs, their dirty rags may be spreading a small film of E. coli. High chairs harbor fecal bacteria too, because they hold diaper-wearing tots.

Carry sanitary wipes to swipe the tabletop and high chairs when you’re seated.


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Why so germy? Lots of people shuffle through and peruse books, log on to computers and touch countertops.

Use hand sanitizer or wash your hands after thumbing through books or touching countertops.
Cruise Ships
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Handrails are the worst offenders here. Cruise ships are like floating cities, packed with thousands of people in a small space. That also makes them incubators for viruses and bacteria. Viruses and bacteria are easily transmitted in places people congregate, such as dining rooms, drinking fountains and shared restrooms. Wash hands frequently throughout the day and before touching your mouth or face, especially when smoking and eating.
Shopping Malls
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What to avoid: escalator handles

They’re teeming with germs, according to a study published in a 2005 issue of the International Journal of Environmental Health Research. Scientists took samples from dozens of escalator handrails across the country and found 19% showed high bacterial contamination.

Don’t touch them. But if you do, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer afterward.
Get tips on avoiding the flu here.